Israel sentences Palestinian to life
TEL AVIV - An Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian to life in prison Monday for a shooting and stabbing attack on a Jerusalem bus that was one of the bloodiest incidents in wave of violence that began in October.
Bilal Abu Ghanem was one of two Palestinians who carried out the October 13 attack that killed two Israelis and a US-Israeli dual national.
The second attacker, Bahaa Allyan, was shot dead during the attack.
According to the court, Abu Ghanem, a resident of Jerusalem's Jabel Mukaber neighbourhood, opened fire on the bus with a pistol, shooting 14 rounds, while Allyan stabbed passengers.
The Jerusalem district court sentenced Abu Ghanem, 22, to three life sentences plus 60 years for murder and attempted murder, among other charges.
He was also ordered to pay 1.45 million shekels ($373,000/338,000 euros) in compensation to victims' families, including four people wounded and the bus driver.
When leaving the court, Abu Ghanem, who was imprisoned in 2013 for membership in the militant Hamas movement, lashed out and said the attack was in part meant as revenge for what he and other Palestinians see as violations of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.
The attack followed a series of clashes in September between Palestinian youths and Israeli police at the flashpoint holy site.
"There are aggressions on our women and on our Al-Aqsa mosque," he said as guards tried to hurry him past journalists. "Retaliation should be like that."
The bus attack was part of a wave of violence that began in October and which has killed at least 214 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.
Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.
Others were shot dead during protests and clashes, while some were killed by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip.
The violence has steadily declined in recent months, though attacks continue to occur, including the fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old girl by a Palestinian in her home in a settlement in the occupied West Bank on June 30.
A sentencing hearing in another high-profile case was postponed until September 22 on Monday.
In that case, Ahmed Manasra, 14, has been convicted of the attempted murder of two Israelis in a knife attack in October.
He and his 15-year-old cousin stabbed and seriously wounded a 20-year-old and a 12-year-old boy in the Jewish settlement neighbourhood of Pisgat Zeev in annexed east Jerusalem.